Rachna Shah
Oct 6, 2017

Why I'm Not a Feminist

3 comments
Tuhin Chakraborty
Oct 9, 2017

This article is brilliant. Everyone interested in this topic should read it. Feminism means equality for women, not the glorification of being female in everything you do.

a vaccarella
Oct 9, 2017Edited: Oct 9, 2017

While it was a well-written piece, I strongly disagree with many of the ways Melanie interprets feminism. Yes, it's true that attention is sometimes delegated to gender. Sadly, even today, women comprise the minority in certain fields. It's still more common to see female nurses, flight attendants and congressional secretaries when women would obviously equally excel at being surgeons, pilots and congressmen.

Personally, it really angers me when women in high executive positions are interviewed and they're asked questions like "How are you able to balance your family and professional life?" or even indirectly alluding to babies or domestic errands. This is where the double standard lies — in the fact that nobody would ask a male CEO, for example, how being a man has impacted his perspective in a corporate world.

However, I do see a positive side to highlighting female roles in underrepresented fields when it's done without the pretense of "WOW LOOK! A WOMAN?!"

There are a lot of people out there who are easily influenced by societal standards because they'd rather not draw attention to themselves by standing out.

Hypothetically, let's say a young girl who loves aviation wants to become a pilot but learns only 4% of commercial pilots are female. If she is the easily-influenced type, this simple fact alone may be enough to make her forfeit her dream. Why? Maybe she'd think her chances of employment are slim, or that nobody would take her seriously, or if she did anything "typically feminine" like wear makeup or eventually decide to have a kid, that she would lose respect from male coworkers.

But... for example, if she happened to see an interview of a female pilot *not answering sexist or even feminist-related questions but questions simply about aviation* , maybe this girl would see that she could get there someday.

So, yes to drawing attention to females, no to drawing attention to females because they are female.

 

Feminism = the belief that women and men should be treated equally.

This is what feminism means. It's unlikely that Melanie has really stopped believing men and women should be treated equally, so her title alone is inaccurate.

Also, I disagree with her point on sexual violation. Modern feminists definitely do not, as a whole, "exaggerate" the extent of their sexual abuse.

It's true women in other countries may be far worse off than America: married as children, not given an equal education or rights and even treated as property. This is inexcusable and we all must keep this in mind.

However, any form of sexual violation or even verbal abuse should not be minimized.

If we allow "boys to be boys" in America or if we ignore the fact that 1 in 3 women will experience some form of sexual harrassment/abuse in college, we are essentially maintaining that while we say we support women escaping sex trafficking in foreign countries, we are not even trying to resolve far less severe issues in our own country that we do have the power to resolve. So in effect, we become hypocritical.

I'm not saying that America is an environment where women fear for their safety whenever alone, but feminism is not defined by melodramatic complaints about "catcalls".

The only way we will reach absolute gender equality is when everyone realizes this fact.

Feminism=equality

enriquejsancheguiguren
Oct 22, 2017

There are two points I'd like to address, one of which I'd like to praise somewhat from a PR perspective and the other I'd like to criticize. The first being the idea that we don't need to shout from the highest rooftops that it's a woman who is doing something. When we call attention to the movement, it makes it easier to 1. alienate people and 2. make it seem as if these things aren't normal. We want messages of feminism to be implanted in society the same ways that messages of sexism were: somewhat directly, but largely subliminally. Because most of our thought doesn't originate from being yelled at that "women can't drive" or whatever other bullshit stereotype they push. It comes from an implicit reference to a woman's driving skills in a sitcom. So the way we program society to be more feminist is similarly achieved. If we cannot acknowledge Wonder Woman as a good film as opposed to a feminist film, we will never be able to reach that truly equal future. That being said, I do get why people do that.

The second point is about rape culture, which I think she gets wrong. I don't believe the US is as bad about rape as say a country like India or Nigeria, but we aren't angels about it either. The number of women who are raped or sexually assaulted is way too high to be acting as if we don't have a rape culture. Look online anytime anyone mentions their experiences with rape and you see a bunch of people who'll say that the woman deserved it or she was asking for it by wearing a short dress. That's also rape culture. The fact that Harvey Weinstein made it so far, or that Bill Cosby did, before they were called out for raping as many women as they did is proof in itself that powerful men can screw over women with little to no consequences because we have a culture that even if it isn't ok with rape, is willing to turn a blind eye to it under the right conditions. Rape culture is real, and it is not made any less real by the admittedly horrible struggles of women in other countries.

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